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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 5, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. on the newshour tonight: hurricane matthew barrels toward florida, leaving a path of and destruction through haiti and cuba with at least 11 dead. also ahead this wednesday, the presidential campaigns are back on the trail, following the vice-presidential debate. how the candidates are responding to the hardest- hitting moments. then, in iraq, militia groups on the front lines have become an important element in the fight against isis, but at what cost? >> they have this ability to carry out these abuses, to carry out these revenge attacks, with complete impunity. >> woodruff: plus, florida's battle against zika. how the mysterious disease is gaining on the state and causing
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a stir in affected neighborhoods. >> it's scary, and when you're scared, especially when you're scared for your unborn child, and especially when it's your first child, you try and focus on what you can control. and there's only a few things that you can. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> xq institute. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future.
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>> bnsf railway. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the wellbeing of humanity around the world, by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york. a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals.
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: rescue workers in haiti are struggling to reach victims of hurricane matthew tonight, while officials in the southeastern u.s. are urging residents to get ready. the big storm is churning north, with sustained winds of 120 miles an hour. for haiti, it shapes up as the worst disaster since the devastating earthquake of 2010. in the port city of les cayes, already-flimsy homes are now piles of debris, and people are wading through knee-deep water. >> ( translated ): our homes are completely destroyed. we've lost everything. we need help as fast as possible. we cannot be left behind. >> woodruff: other towns are cut off, while the u.n. reports at
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least 10,000 people are in shelters, and hospitals are full. in the capital, port-au-prince, the river grise was close to topping its banks today. charles-patrick almazor spoke to us from port-au-prince. he's with "partners in health", an international aid organization. >> woodruff: the disaster prompted haitian officials to postpone the presidential election, set for next week. from haiti, the storm rolled across the sparsely populated eastern tip of cuba, and destroyed dozens of homes in barracoa. >> it was a disaster, everything was a disaster. there is nothing left here, this was like never seen before, >> woodruff: next on matthew's path: the bahamas. it pounded the southern islands
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with heavy rain all day, and the eye could reach nassau tomorrow morning. by thursday night, the storm is expected to be off south florida. then, over the weekend, it's on course to whirl up the east coast toward the carolinas, before veering back out into the atlantic. florida governor rick scott says the state may see its largest evacuation ever. >> regardless if there's a direct hit or not, the impacts will be devastating. i cannot emphasize it enough, that everyone in our state must prepare now for a direct hit. >> woodruff: in south carolina, people flocked for water and supplies today, and governor nikki haley announced a scaled- back plan to evacuate a quarter million people. president obama added his own warning, at the federal emergency management agency. >> i want to emphasize to the public this is a serious storm. if there is an evacuation order in your community, you need to take it seriously. >> woodruff: if it does make
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landfall, matthew would be the first major hurricane to strike the u.s. mainland since 2005. in the day's other news, the united nations announced the paris agreement on climate change will take effect on november 4. it reached the threshold when more than 55 nations-- generating at least 55% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions-- signed on. president obama walked out to the white house garden to hail the development, and its implications. >> today, the world meets the moment. and if we follow through on the commitments this paris agreement embodies, history may well judge it as turning point for our planet. so this gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet that we've got. >> woodruff: the agreement calls for countries to report progress on reducing emissions, but does not set binding limits. the u.n. security council agreed unanimously today that antonio
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guterres of portugal should be the united nations' next leader, its secretary general. the former prime minister also served as u.n. high commissioner for refugees for ten years. he would succeed ban ki-moon, as secretary general. the council votes tomorrow on recommending guterres to the general assembly. in afghanistan: kunduz endured a third day of fierce fighting. government forces in the provincial capital repelled fresh taliban assaults, with the aid of u.s. helicopters. smoke billowed over the city center, as hundreds of civilians began leaving. local officials said they forced out by the taliban. tensions are building tonight between iraq and turkey-- nations that have been allies in the fight against the islamic state group. the iraqi parliament today denounced turkey's plans to keep troops at a camp inside iraq for another year. the turkish foreign minister responded in istanbul, that it's
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much ado about nothing. >> ( translated ): the camp was set up within the knowledge of iraqi administration. baghdad officials have visited this camp and have even provided financial support to it in the past. this problem occurred because of internal conflict of iraqi policy. >> woodruff: the two nations are also at odds over iraqi plans for retaking the city of mosul from isis. the turks are warning against using shi-ite militias in the mainly sunni region. we'll take a closer look at those militias, later in the program. the u.s. justice department has charged a maryland man with stealing secrets from the national security agency. a criminal complaint unsealed today names harold thomas martin. he was a contractor for booz allen hamilton. the same firm employed edward snowden, who in 2013, revealed the n.s.a.'s bulk collection of phone records. on wall street, rising bond yields and oil prices boosted bank and energy stocks.
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the dow jones industrial average gained 112 points to close at 18,281. the nasdaq rose 26, and the s&p 500 added nine. and, the world's oldest man has finally celebrated his bar mitzvah. israel kristal is now 113 years old. he grew up in poland, but missed his coming-of-age ceremony because of world war i. he ultimately survived both world wars, and the auschwitz death camp, and now lives in israel. his family, including almost 30 great-grandchildren, joined him for the bar mitzvah last weekend. mazel tov. still to come on the newshour: racial bias and the death penalty before the supreme court; controversial iraqi militias in the fight against isis; the breakdown in u.s.- russian cooperation that's left war-torn syria with a harrowing future, and much more.
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>> woodruff: turning to politics: the numbers are in, and half the number of households who tuned to watch 35 million households viewed tim kaine and mike pence. and half the number of households who tuned to watch the top of the ticket debate with hillary clinton and donald trump, tuned in to watch last night's vice presidential debate. for more on the campaign trail, lisa desjradins reports. >> reporter: the candidates at the top of the ticket returned to the campaign trail, one day after a contentious vice presidential debate. in swing-state nevada, republican donald trump praised running mate mike pence's debate performance. >> he was cool. he was smart. he was-- i mean, you just take a look at him. he was meant to be doing what he's doing, and we are very, very proud of governor mike pence. >> reporter: democrat hillary clinton had no public events today, but traveled to washington d.c. for a fundraiser. the two nominees debate again on
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sunday. and it could every bit as combative as the kaine-pence face-off. the statistics-driven "538" blog counted more than "538" blog counted more than 40 interruptions from pence, more than 70 by kaine. >> she had a clinton foundation accepting contributions from foreign governments. >> you are donald trump's apprentice. let me talk about this-- ( crosstalk ) >> senator, i think i'm still on my time. >> well, i think-- isn't this a discussion? >> this is our open discussion. >> yeah, let's talk about the state of... ( crosstalk ) >> well, let me interrupt-- let me interrupt you and finish my sentence, if i can. >> reporter: but while kaine may have lost style points for that approach, democrats stressed that pence did not always directly defend trump's record, including his refusal to release his tax records. >> every president since richard nixon has done it, and donald trump has said, "i'm doing business with russia." the only way the american public will see whether he has a conflict of interest-- >> no, he hasn't said that. >> he has, actually. >> senator, your time is up. governor? >> well, thanks. i'm just trying to keep up with the insult-driven campaign on the other side of the table. >> you know, i'm just saying
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facts about your running mate. >> yeah. >> and i know you can't defend. >> reporter: the clinton campaign also quickly put out a video ad, contrasting pence's words with trump's. >> donald trump said, "keep them out if they're muslim." >> absolutely false. >> "a total and complete shutdown of muslims." >> reporter: but kaine raised questions with his statement on the iranian nuclear agreement >> she worked to deal with the she worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot. >> eliminate the iranian nuclear weapons program? >> absolutely, without firing a shot. and instead of 175,000 american troops deployed overseas, we now have 15,000. >> right, and-- >> reporter: in fact, iran did agree never to acquire nuclear weapons, but opponents of the deal critics point out tehran will keep some nuclear ability and could renege. so with 34 days left, the campaigns are fighting over facts-- and fighting for every vote. for the pbs newshour, im lisa
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desjardins. >> woodruff: we go from the race for the white house, to the start of a new term at the supreme court. and, to jeffrey brown: >> brown: and a most unusual term it is: with an empty seat since the death of antonin scalia last february, it's been at least 25 years since the court began a term with just eight members. we look at that, and at a case argued today about racial bias and the death penalty. and we welcome back our favorite court watcher: marcia coyle of the "national law journal." >> thanks, jeff. >> brown: welcome back, time to get to work. >> absolutely. >> brown: a term in which the court begins shorthanded, what impact are we seeing white we see? what jumps out at you? >> i think right now what we see has to do with the kinds of cases that the court has already accepted for decision. there are no potential blockbuster issues on the docket of the kind that seem to mark
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just about every term of the roberts court since it began in 2005. >> brown: there have always been a couple at least. >> that's right. and instead the cases that we're seeing there is a healthy dose of patent, arbitration, bankruptcy, and there are more narrow technical statutory interpretation cases. but i would say, jeff, there have been other terms that began rather low key, low profile, and it only takes one to rails the profile. the justices will continue to add cases through the middle of january. but without knowing what's in every justice's mind, i have a feeg this court right now is happy to have a low profile during this election campaign. >> brown: we should just say, we talk about this often, but the court gets to decide what cases it will will take. >> it does. >> brown: you're suggesting the thinking might be let things simmer a little bit or some cases that are too hot for an eight-member panel might be worth not taking. >> i think so.
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certainly in the calculus of accepting a case, they have to think will we be able to get five moits, a majority, to decide it? if that's questionable, they may veer away from that particular case. >> brown: no bloc busters right now, but a lot of cases i see with a theme around race or racial bias. one was argued today, a death penalty case. >> that's right. in fact, race plays a central role or even a smaller role in three types of cases this term-- criminal justice cases, the drawing of electoral maps, and even mortgage lending. but today, the court focused on criminal justice and duane buck's case. buck is a texas death row inmate. his trial back in the mid-1990s, his own defense counsel at that trial introduced an expert witness who testified to a stereotype, a terrible stereotype that's been debunked for years now. he testified that because buck
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was black, he was more likely to be dangerous in the future. future dangerness is a special issue texas jurors have to agree unanimously to in order to impose the death sentence, and they did so here. >> brown: in this case, just to be clear. he's not challenging the conviction. >> no. >> brown: he's challenging the sentences with the claim that it was based on a racial bias. >> that's exactly right. >> brown: so what happened in court today? what was the argument? >> the court seemed sympathetic to mr. buck, even justice alito said that what happened in that trial was indefensible. but the problem for the court is how are they going to deal with this? this is a very procedurally complicated case, and the chief justice asked buck's attorney, "what document us to do here? do you want to us say on one hand, this was a clear violation of the constitution, mr. buck, he get a new sentencing hearing?
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or do we address the issue that the attorney actually raised, and that is, did the lower federal appellate court use the right standard in denying buck what we call a certificate of appealability, which would have enabled him to go back to a federal district court, reopen his habeas petition to argue that he deserves a new sentencing hearing. >> brown: so in this case, the possible uts are unclear. >> that's right. >> brown: but the centents seemed clear. >> it seemed clear across the bench they definitely had a problem with what happened at his trial. >> brown: let me come back to the larger picture. you said no blockbusters but there are a few out there they might take. >> absolutely. just because they may be small or narrow or low profile doesn't mean they're uninteresting. the court for example has an interesting case, the trinity lutheran church in missouri is challenging mizor's denial state
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grant to resurface a plae ground, claiming it striments against religious institutions. that violates the constitution. the oregon rock group, the slams, are involved in a trademark case. their mark was turned down by a federal agency because it disparaged asian americans. a federal appellate court struck that law down as violating the constitution. the obama administration is asking the supreme court to take a look at it. >> brown: and some very high profile-- there's a transgender case -- >> this is in the wings, right. >> brown: in the wings. >> there's a. from a virginia county school board that's challenging a lower court's order that a transgender boy should be able to use the boys' bathroom. and there's also an interesting case, continued fallout from same-sex marriage, where a colorado baker said his religious beliefs prevented him from baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. colorado's civil rights commission found that the baker
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violated the public accommodations law. the baker has brought a petition to the supreme court. they could definitely raise the temperature of the court if it takes it. >> brown: absolutely, okay, marcia coyle, "national law journal," welcome back. >> thank you, my pleasure, jeff. >> brown: and online, there's more on the case of duane edward buck on our website, >> woodruff: now, to the second of our three reports this week on the fight for iraq. militia groups, made up mostly of shia fighters, and many backed by iran, have become instrumental in the battle to drive isis from iraq. but their presence on the battlefield makes them a controversial force, one the united states is deadly familiar with. tonight, again in partnership with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting, special correspondent jane ferguson and producer jon gerberg report.
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>> reporter: these young men are holding the line on a remote hilltop north of tikrit. they fire at any movement across the oil fields on the horizon where isis snipers are dug in. conditions are rudimentary. each fighter has little with him, beyond his gun. >> ( translated ): the end of isis is on my mind. >> ahmed is not part of the iraqi army. he is a member of iraq's popular mobilization unit. they are predominantly shia militias, and a radical sunni group isis-- or daesh as they're called here-- are their sworn enemy. >> i came in response to the fatwa, the doctrine, to defend my country, the sacred places. my wish in life is thent of daesh in iraq. >> reporter: like thousands of
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other shia iraqis, he heard the call of ayatollah sista, in i, who issued a religious command, or fatwa, to take up arms and drive isis from iraq. iraq's security forces had collapsed when isis rushed in nfrom syria and seized a third of the country, ceelg shias who they believe to be her ticks. while the military was in chaos, tens of thousands of young iraqi men flocked to the militias instead. >> ( translated ): the fatwa opened the door for us so we volunteered with the hascht militia. ours is a belief and a will. he came because of our belief, not a salary or anything else. we came because of our beliefs and our principles. >> reporter: these troops have come from southern iraq and they're holding the front line in this whole area. the iraqi army are nowhere to be seen, and they are camped down here with isis positions just over the froont line.
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many of these fighters who have lived for months on the front lines now, were civilians with no military experience until they faced isis. >> ( translated ): even the army didn't take in volunteers in such numbers. we have huge numbers. we came like this, no training centers, nothing. >> reporter: their presence has been essential to the battle. isis has been pushed back from many areas, and the hascht militias have played a major role in battles against the group. but the actions of heavily armed shi'a fighters in sunni areas of iraq have been deeply divisive. they're also accused of war crimes, such as beheadings, killings, and torture of sunni residents in areas they have fought in. human rights watch has called on the iraqi government to reign them in, saying in vengeance for isis atrocities they have attacked sunni communities. this senior iraq researcher for
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human rights watch based in kiev, we spoke with her via skype. >> these are segments of the population singled out for allegiance with isis. whether or not these individual members of the community are actually affiliated with isis, and the popular mobilization forces has chosen to really single out this community and to carry out revenge attacks on them outside of the military structure. they have this ability to carry out these abuses, to carry out these revenge attacks with complete impunity. >> when fallujah city was retaken from isis in june, they were accused of detaining over 1,000 men who fleld the city. some 600 are still reportedly missing. this is a problem for the u.s.-led coalition. the militias are fighting alongs side u.s.-backed iraqi army forces and benefiting from
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american air strikes. >> prime minister aboughty has said those alleged abuses definitely need to be investigated and those responsible, if they did occur, need to be held to account. so we're going to work with the iraqis on making sure that we set conditions to reduce as much as we can the possibility for human rights apuces, but it's a very complicated battlefield. >> reporter: shi'a militias like these are funded and supported by iran and are a powerful tool of influence for the iranian regime on their neighbor iraq. there is plenty of bad blood between them and the u.s. military. some of these groups were responsible for killing american soldiers during the war here. seen by many as iran's way of bleeding the u.s.asty, says michael sizen stat. he served as a civilian and army officer in iraq during the occupation. he is now at the washington institute. >> many were involved in a
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low-level insurgency against the united states and have the blood of american soldiers on their hans. we don't want to operate in the same battle space as them. it creates a lot of problems. >> reporter: yet, as a major force fighting isis, they are technically on the same side as the u.s. in this war. however, their commander views america with deep suspicion. >> ( translated ): they don't trust america. they're not here to fight isis. we are here to fight isis and fight them properly. >> reporter: in fact, to him, the americans have other intentions beyond isis or even iraq. >> ( translated ): they want to control arab countries and establish bases close to iran. they have intentions against iran, clearly. >> reporter: but america's support of iraq's security forces has effectively brought the u.s. into an indirect alliance with iranian-backed groups. that is not by choice, says
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eisenstadt. >> they played a role in iraq's effortefforts to eamericanned ae dominant power. we don't have control over who participates in the war on the growrngd although we're putting pressure on the iraqi military not to rely on these groups. groups. >> reporter: after this battle, the tens of thousands of young recruits to the shi'a militias will have to find a new purpose. >> ( translated ): when daesh ends in iraq, i'm going to work. when this fatwa was first issued, i was sitting doing nothing. fifinish, i will go back to the way i was. >> reporter: they are, however, unlikely to all return home. on the continued existence of armed militias beyond full government control could destabilize iraq long after isis is gone. for the pbs newshour,ime jane ferguson in tikrit, iraq.
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>> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: how pregnant women in miami are reacting to zika threats; and the important but complex discoveries behind the nobel prizes, explained. but first, the french government today announced a renewed push for a cease-fire in syria, after a previous deal failed. the two architects of that accord, secretary of state kerry and russian foreign minister sergei lavrov, spoke again by phone today. meantime, the push by syrian forces to retake aleppo's rebel- held sectors continued, as a humanitarian catastrophe mounted. as rescuers on the ground in eastern aleppo sifted through the ruins by hand, united nations satellite images from high above showed the sweeping destruction. the syrian military announced today it's reducing the land and
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air bombardment to let some 275,000 civilians evacuate. pablo marco leads the "doctors without borders" mission in syria. he spoke, via skype, from amman, jordan: >> unfortunately, we have got at >> woodruff: prospects for peace were briefly brighter last month, when secretary of state john kerry and russian foreign minister lavrov brokered a cease-fire. but syrian and russian air strikes quickly resumed in a new and devastating offensive against aleppo, and an aid convoy was bombed near the city. on monday, the state department severed direct contact with russia on the issue of syria.
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>> together, the syrian regime and russia seem to have rejected diplomacy in furtherance of trying to pursue a military victory. >> woodruff: at the white house today, top advisers grappled with what to do next. "the washington post" and others reported military strikes against syrian government forces are an option. so far, president obama has refused to go that far, and "the new york times" obtained a recording of secretary kerry voicing frustration last month, to the syrian opposition. >> i've argued for use of force. i stood up, i'm the guy who stood up and announced, we're going to attack assad because of the weapons, and then, you know, things evolved into a different process. >> woodruff: syria is also echoing across the presidential campaign, as in last night's vice presidential debate. >> if russia chooses to be >> the united states of america should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the assad
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regime. >> the establishment of humanitarian zones in northern syria with the provision of international human aid, important. >> woodruff: but the ravaged landscape of aleppo begs the question: if peace ever does come, will there be anything left to save? and to talk about what comes next in syria, i'm joined now by derek chollet-- he's a former assistant secretary of defense in the obama administration, now at the german marshal fund. randa slim-- she's director of the track two dialogues initiative at the middle east institute. and, "new york times" columnist nicholas kristof. welcome all three of you to the program. let me just each one of you to say in brief how did we get to this point five years in, half a million people dead in syria, millions more displaced? how did we get here, derek chollet. >> well, it's a very difficult confluence of issues. it's a proxy war being fought by many countries in the region. and, of course, the russians,
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with many different interests at play, it's a brutal regime in the assad regime that is willing to take any measure, no matter how immoral or war criminal acts to persecute its goals. and it's very much driven by fears in the united states, legitimate fears, i believe, about escalation of any u.s. military involvement, and what that may lead to in terms of an enduring u.s. commitment, military commitment inside of syria. >> woodruff: nicholas kristof, how did we get here? >> well, i think that president obama resisted the suggestions by hillary clinton, by david petraeus, and others to become more engaged, partly because it seemed plausible, in 2012 or even 2013, that assad was going to fall anyway and, you know, why get engaged if what we want is going to happen anyway. and that was, indeed, plausible, but it also proved wrong.
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and i think also more broadly, in a place like syria, you know, there are no good options. and in a situation like, that it's always easiest in any given day, if you don't have a good option, to say, "well, let's see what we're going to do tomorrow." and that's how bit by bit you end up losing half a million lives with no end in sight. >> woodruff: randa slim, how do you see this? how did we get here? >> i think we started the administration, putting right set of objectives in 2011, when the president said that the assad must step aside because it was rightly diagnosed that the primary driver of the conflict, and still is the case today, is the assad regime. however, i think the administration proved unwilling and to put together the strategy and to deploy the necessary tools to make that happen. i think as nick said, there was a strong assumption that assad
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would fall or that assad can be convinced to transition out. i think time and again, this has proven to be a wrong assumption. but, also, i think the other factor is that we were facing an opponent with a coalition supporting it that has been willing to endorse and to engage in any kind of tactic, in any kind of kinds of interventions to stay had power. so we have this coalition now made up of russia, made up of iran, made up of hezbollah, supporting assad, that is very-- has a clear objective, that has a clear strategy, and that is willing to deploy any tool at its disposal, no matter what-- how onerous it is to achieve that objective. >> woodruff: well, let me turn back to derek chollet. given all this, given where we
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are, what is the path forward? and can the u.s. do something on the own? >> well, it's very difficult to see a clear path forward given the extent to which the russians are now very farred in this situation and the brutality that assad has shown. that's important for your viewers to remember. the united states military has been bombing syria every day for the last two years. now the targets the u.s. military has been hitting and the special operators on the ground have been in support of the kurds and arab tribes in syria, the targets are counter-isil. and there are some things to do that we could do in terms of expanding the aperature of the air strikes, perhaps putting some of the regime targets at risk that would be risky, but i believe would limit the risk of escalation that president has rightly been concerned about. there's no question the u.s. military has the capability to take out a regime. we have shown three times over the last 15 years that the u.s. military can take down a regime.
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we did it in afghanistan. we did it in iraq. we did it in libya. the challenge, judy, as you suggested in your opening piece, what comes next? and what can the u.s. do about what comes next? and i think that has been a limiting factor on the president's decision to get involved militarily and bring about a transition inside syria. >> woodruff: nicholas kristof, have written about this extensively. what is the path forward for the u.s.? we are late in the obama administration. there will be another president in the next few months. what is a realistic path forward? >> well, i think what we need to aim for is a cease-fire and a kind of de facto partition of syria among the sides, with at least the fighting stopping, and wait, and some time down the road one can put want pieces back together again, to get the cease-fire, to stop the killing, then you need leverage. the syrian government has responded only-- not to moral appeals, but only when it feels threatened. so in 2013, when it feared it
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was going to suffer air strikes, then, indeed, it agreed, you know, we'll have hand over chemical weapons. many, many of the members of parliament in syria fled the country because there was a credible military threat. and so i think that john kerry feels legitimately that his efforts to negotiate a cease-fire were enormously undercut because the white house wouldn't give him that kind of leverage. and, you know, look this is hard. it may not work. but we have in fact imposed a de facto no-fly zone over parts of northern syria to protect u.s. military advisers on ground. we could crater runways, for example, at syrian military aircraft take off of. these aren't perfect solutions, but i think they're better than letting hundreds of thousands of people die in the coming years. >> woodruff: randa slim, is any of this realistic? we heard the vice presidential nominees last night bring up solutions. we just heard what derderek and
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nick have said. does any of this-- does it show any relation of what could politically, realistically take place? >> to what realistically takes place in the united states? i don't think that with this administration, given the time frame that's left in the tenure, you know five weeks, less than five weeks away from the election, i don't think this administration would engage in any kind of military option that bears risks, especially high risks. and any option right now in syria is going to be aificky option. i think what we need to do and what is realistic is to alleviate the human suffering. there is, for example, we have now 250,000 to 270,000 people that are under siege by the syrian regime and its supporting coalition in eastern aleppo, that are being basically starved
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to death. so airdrops of humanitarian aid, airdrops over this region of medicine, of food, massive airdrops of medicine and food in the short term could help at least alleviate the human suffering of these people. i think we also need to, in the short term, to enable the armed groups, the opposition that's still in eastern aleppo to stay there and we need to enable the armed groups that are fighting against ice and i will that are fighting against the regime to continue to fight against isil, against the regime. but there is this element here that we are forgetting, that there are regional parties that have high stakes in this conflict, either the united states or russia today. these are countries that are going to continue to wage their proxy wars in syria and to, in a way, help change the dynamics on the ground in ways that best serve the interests of the
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syrian parties. >> woodruff: so given that, derek chollet, is the next president going to have any more success than this one did? and we recognize the next president could have a different approach to syria. >> well, i think as nick kristof said, this is a very difficult problem, and there have been never been easy, risk-free solutions in syria, whether we're talking in 2011, 2012, or today. there are a set of options that the next president will, i'm certain, will consider, in terms of the attackers that-- targets that we're hitting with our air strikes, in terms of the kind of support we're giving the syrian option, the kinds of weapons we are giving them, in terms of the target. in terms of the number of special operators on the ground to work with the syrian option, to try to make them more cohesive and capable. but none of those measures are going to take away the fundamental difficulty of the situation and the dilemma that we're facing. nor is it going to take away the
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significant risk that's entailed with any sort of u.s. military engagement in syria, and i think that's a risk we all need to be honest about and aware of because i think as we potentially escalate further into this conflict with no end in sight, perhaps. >> woodruff: but very quickly, just to give both nick and randa time for a final comment, at least will there be a time for an opportunity for a fresh start with a new president? quickly to nick and then to randa. >> well, you know, i think there is going to be an opportunity, but i think russia and syria are both frantically trying to change the attacks on the ground so there is less room for the next president to maneuver. but at the end of the day, i mean, i guess, i think that president obama had a plausible strategy a few years another but one that in retrospect just has failed. and after a half million deaths, after the rise of isis, after a global refugee crisis, then i think the one thing that should be pretty clear now is that it's time to re-evaluate, and look
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for a new approach. >> woodruff: and randa slim, what do we look for? >> i think as nick said, i think the next president will be evaluating what we need to do in syria, but also as nick said, i think the next president will be facing a-- less options to deal with. >> woodruff: meaning what? meaning that because the russians are now-- >> meaning-- meaning-- meaning that there will be-- i mean, meaning if aleppo were to fall in the next-- in the next few weeks i think that would create a situation that would make the regime and the coalition supporting the rejamaica less willing to engage in the political process that the american administration has always wanted and advocated for. i think that means this next
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president needs to explore carefully but also seriously what kind of military tools could be deployed to create the can bees on the ground for this political process. >> woodruff: it's complicated, and it's painful. and as all three of you said, it is hard. derek chollet, randa slim, nicholas kristof, we thank you. >> woodruff: last week, the u.s. congress finally agreed on more funding to fight the zika virus. the money comes months after health officials asked for it and places like florida grapple to slow the virus' spread. in miami, as william brangham reports, the crisis has put pregnant women particularly on edge. >> reporter: beyond the famous sugar-white sands of south beach in miami, there's a clear sense of unease about the growing public health crisis here:
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>> this means florida has become the first state in the nation to have local transmission of the zika virus. >> reporter: over the last few months, officials have begun waging an all-out war against mosquitoes: spraying pesticides from the air; going door to door in some neighborhoods, checking plants and standing water; and plastering the city with warning signs, telling residents how to protect themselves from zika. there are now over 940 documented cases of zika in the state of florida-- and over 230 in miami-dade county alone. but the epicenter is here in miami-- and the largest number of locally-acquired zika infections have occurred in these two neighborhoods. how are people in florida doing with this? >> the pregnant women that i've talked to, and their partners, or people who know pregnant women, are taking it very seriously, and there's a lot of anxiety there. there's a lot of anxiety there. pregnant women should avoid travel to the county. >> reporter: sammy mack is a health reporter for wlrn, the local npr station in miami. while she's eager to cover this
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big story, mack has ended up in the middle of in it in a way she'd rather not-- she's also four months pregnant. >> it became an issue of, okay, how am i going to cover this thing that is happening in the middle of my beat, in a way that is not putting me at any kind of additional risk? >> reporter: mack took one of the free zika tests offered by the state-- but the results took weeks, and those delays can limit the options for pregnant women. >> i waited five weeks to get my results back. >> reporter: in the middle of a pregnancy? >> in the middle of a pregnancy. if women don't get their test turned around quickly and are waiting four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, whatever it is, that may affect their window to decide to terminate the pregnancy. florida restricts abortion past 24 weeks. >> reporter: thankfully, mack's results were negative. but she has to remain vigilant. all it takes is one mosquito bite, and as a journalist, this story is unfolding in areas she's not supposed to go.
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>> i now have bug spray that i give out to everybody. >> reporter: is that right? >> yeah. yeah. i ordered a huge pack online and i hand them out to people who are going to the places that i'm not going to. >> hi tiffany! >> hey dr. schwartzbard! how are you doing? >> i'm good, how are you? >> i'm good, thanks! >> reporter: tiffany anderson and her husband jay are expecting their first child in just two weeks, and they too have had to adapt to this potential risk to their unborn child. >> i know you've been very cautious throughout your whole pregnancy, protecting yourself from mosquito bites with regards to zika. >> reporter: their ob/gyn, dr. ellen schwartzbard, has been advising tiffany-- and all her patients-- to be vigilant. the anderson's used to live just on the edge of one of the neighborhoods with active zika transmission, but they've since moved into this house, a few miles away. tiffany also took a zika test a month ago-- she was negative-- and they've changed their behavior to make sure she stays zika-free: >> we don't really spend a lot
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of time outdoors. we won't go to restaurants where we're going to be eating outdoors, even if it's outside of what the designated zika transmission zone is, just because it's constantly changing and enlarging. >> reporter: that's just what your daily life has to be now. >> it's just minimizing exposure. >> exactly. >> it's scary, and when you're scared, especially when you're scared for your unborn child, and especially when it's your first child, you try and focus on what you can control. and there's only a few things that you can. and i now wear a lot of bug spray, instead of perfume. my perfume of choice is now deet. >> reporter: dr. christine curry is one of the main doctors treating pregnant women who do have zika in florida. right now, she's caring for 15 pregnant women, and eight who've already given birth. none of the babies born to zika- infected mothers here have shown signs of the birth-defect known as microcephaly. it's not clear how often an
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infected woman will pass the virus to their child in utero, or how many babies with the virus will develop complications where do you think we are in our understanding of zika? >> at the very beginning. we're less than a year into this, and so i think that it's still going to take another few years for us to both understand the consequences during pregnancy, and then it's going to take years to know the babies that were infected, what do they look like, compared to uninfected babies when they're six months old or one year old, or when they hit school age? >> reporter: as public health officials try to understand this virus better, they're also dealing with a protest over florida's efforts to curtail its spread. >> no more naled! no more naled! >> reporter: even though the e.p.a. and the c.d.c. have said the spraying of the pesticide naled is both safe and effective, its use has triggered a backlash. >> the tension around it is with people who fall into a couple of categories. one, there are people who are concerned that the outcome of
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using this chemical might be worse than the risks of zika. there are people who don't believe that zika is actually a problem and they've been very loud at some of these meetings. >> no! no! no! >> reporter: dr. curry spoke at one of these public hearings: >> with your permission, i would like to face this direction while i speak. i am much more comfortable with patients than politicians. >> reporter: --trying to convince concerned residents that, while no one wants pesticides in their neighborhoods, zika is not to be taken lightly. >> and i want you to know that zika is a thing. and while we don't fully understand it, the women who are positive have higher rates of birth defects, and higher rates of stillbirth, and higher rates of miscarriages, and higher rates of ultrasound images, that are ugly and scary. >> reporter: thanks in part to aerial spraying, wynwood, one of the two miami neighborhoods that was seeing active transmissions, has now been declared zika free.
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but cases in miami beach have only grown. in the twelve days since we visited miami, florida officials have discovered at least fourteen additional locally transmitted cases. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham in miami florida. >> woodruff: finally tonight, it is time for our weekly segment about the "leading edge" of science and technology. and this week, there is plenty of science in the news with the nobel prizes. hari sreenivasan has more from our new york studios. >> sreenivasan: the latest winners are in the field of chemistry, and the nobel went to a trio of scientists who helped pioneer tiny molecular machines in the world of nanotechnology. these are specially designed molecules that can produce controlled movements, and there's talk they could some day be useful in the world of medicine.
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our science correspondent, miles o'brien, is here to walk us through the significance of this, and the other nobels. he joins us tonight from san diego. miles, doctors jean-pierre sauvage, fraser stoddart, and bernard feringa for the design and synthesis of molecular machines help how small are we talking? >> think of a nanometer. a nanometer is-- well, there are 80,000 of them in a human hair. that will give you an idea. we're talking very small. imagine machines at the molecular level that can do work, and some of the applications that we're thinking about are potentially drug delivery inside our system, and many others where tiny machines can pack a punch. another application they're looking at potentially, hari, is creating computer storage capability at the atomic level. well, if you're storing things at the atomic level you basically need a processor at
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the molecular model. nanomachines are potentially revolutionary. we're still very early on in that game. >> sreenivasan: how do you build something that small? >> it's basically a chemical process that you engage with, and that is part of their insight. and, you know, basically, the researchers are saying that we're kind of like the wright brothers at this point. we built a flying machine, but how could you possibly have conceived of the 747 at the time that it occurred. these mechanisms, these tiny nanomachines have the capability of revolutionizing medicine, revolutionizing computer storage, and really who knows what? because we can't imagine that 747. >> sreenivasan: all right, let's shift to physic. it was given for something called topological phase transitions and phases of matter. i need an advanced degree just to understand what the prize was for. >> yeah, yeah, this is a tough
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one. it's a lot of mathematics and physics and it's difficult, frankly. it's tough sledding. but it is a very human moment involved. there is a very human moment involved. dr. kastalas, got the word in his car. listen to his response. >> we run the official web site for the nobel prize. have you already heard the news of the announcements for physics? >> no, i haven't heard anything. i'm talking from an underground car park in helsinki, finland, right now. y can barely hear you. >> it has just been announced in stockholm that you are one of the recipients of the 2016 nobel prize in physics. >> that's incredible. that's amazing. >> what a way to get the news, hey. here's what this is all about-- phase changes. you might remember this from high school. phase changes occur-- it's the difference between steam
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becoming-- condensing down to water, and ultimately freezing into a solid. those are phase changes we understand. when it get to the quantum level, way things shift from phase to phase, we don't understand as well. as a matter of fact, the quantum world is like a parallel universe. things react and do things very differently. topology is a technique where you identify basic shapes, whether something has a single hole or two holes or is solid. and the nobel committee used a pretzel and a bagel and a muffin to try to illustrate this point. but by understanding that mathematics, scientists hope to get greater insightsights into t happens at the quantum level as things move from phase to phase. this might one day lead to superconducting materials that can do their job at room temperature. so far, that's been a very elusive goal, harvey. >> sreenivasan: monday the nobel for medicine was handed out to one individual something
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called atofogy. >> it's recycling at the cellular level. it happens inside our poddies. for many years scientists have known about lysoso manies, they are parts of our cells that take things you don't necessarily want there, potentially toxins, and breaks them down into their constituent parts to be reused by the body. what scientists never really understood was how does the bad stuff get to the lisoso manies. that's where atofogys. this is very exciting because this might bet very heart of the very mechanisms that create cancer, for example, or neurological diseases. and in the case of embryonic development, if you can see and understand this, you can learn about how an embryo might develop. so there's tremendous potential there for medicine, lots of papers generated out of this one particular discovery by this one
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individual. very unusual. >> sreenivasan: all right, miles, if there was a nobel prize for explaining the nobel prizes, you should be in contention. thanks so much for joining us tonight from san diego. >> you're welcome, hari. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> xq institute. >> bnsf railway. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention. in the u.s. and developing
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countries. on the web at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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♪ with tyler mathisen .usine trading tips. the supreme c hears an insider trading case for the first ti in two decades and the outcome could change the way cases are prosecuted. classified secrets. the fbi arrests a national securi agency contractor on charges he stole top-secret documents. and shares of the firm he works for fell sharply. know your options. with all of the talk of fake accounts and record atm fees, what alternatives do you have to a traditio? those stories and more, tonight on "nightly bu for wednesday, october 5th. good evening, everyone. i'm sue herera. tyler math i a recipe for gains. two things hap


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